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Reviews & Zero-Party Data: How to Optimize Your Collection Process

Melissa Megginson Axtell, Director of Community Marketing

Jan 18th 2022

Headshot of Melissa Megginson Axtell

 

Could you be sitting on a gold mine of untapped zero-party data?

Digital marketing is evolving at a rapid pace and customer demand is driving a lot of this change. Data privacy is on everyone’s lips at the moment, meaning that brands have to change their approach to gathering customer data — and quickly.

Apple’s iOS15 update allows users to see who the apps they use are sharing their data with. Google has made the move to replace third-party cookies with new technologies. It feels as though we’re moving into a new phase of the traditional client/brand relationship.

However, consumers still expect a hyper-personalized, omnichannel ecommerce experience. So as far as data goes, it would appear that there’s a willingness to engage in a fair exchange: insight for benefit.

So how can brands be more transparent, balanced, and consensual when it comes to collecting personal information? The answer may just lie in zero-party data.

Zero-Party Data: What is it and Why is it Important?

Let’s start by covering the basics – exactly what defines zero-party data? Essentially, it’s data that is intentionally shared with a brand, by their customer. In a sense, it’s actually first-party data. You collect it. You own it. It comes from your existing audience.

But zero-party data is distinct in that it’s provided freely. Consumers proactively decide to submit additional information and insight to a brand, typically in exchange for some kind of perceived benefit — such as entertainment, education, or an improved personalized experience.

Some examples of zero-party data collection could include an interactive quiz that helps you find your ideal Christmas party dress, a questionnaire that helps you learn about the ideal diet for your growing puppy or an onboarding flow that allows you to set preferences for a monthly subscription box delivery.

Zero-party data is valuable — nothing else brings you closer to understanding your customer’s desires than this insight. Collect and leverage zero-party data wisely, and it represents a fantastic opportunity for advanced levels of segmentation, and the ability to deliver a deeply personalized customer experience.

Ready to learn how reviews could be your secret weapon when it comes to leveraging this increasingly essential source of data? Read on…

How Zero-Party Data From Reviews Can Help Boost Your Upsell Opportunities

Zero-party data helps to provide more accurate product recommendations, based on reviews that have been well received by other lookalike audiences. Product recommendation emails that are segmented and include reviews or testimonials can match shoppers with items based on their circumstances, demographic or personal interests.

For example, review requests for a shampoo brand could ask customers to include additional information about their hair type, length, texture or condition. Armed with this zero-party data, marketers could tailor their next email campaign to include segmented messaging that recommends products for those with long, wavy, or dry hair, linking to relevant content that’s guaranteed to appeal.

Discounts and promotional offers, or even bundled items, can also be carefully tailored to suit certain segments, created as the result of zero-party review data. The beauty of this is that brands have the ability to learn more about their customers with each additional purchase, meaning that with every cycle of purchase and subsequent review, they obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the customer in question, leading to a shopping experience that feels progressively more customized and personal.

Next, let’s examine the practical ways in which reviews can help your zero-party data collection.

How Reviews Can Help Capture Zero-Party Data

Many brands are waking up to the benefits of zero-party data. As a result, interest in the various methods of collection is high. One of the most effective ways to collect zero-party data is through post-purchase reviews.

There are several reasons why this method is especially productive. For starters, while they’re still in the warm and fuzzy post-purchase space, customers are likely to be more receptive to brand interaction. They’re excited about their recent purchase, feel a connection to the brand, and are likely to reply to a request for additional feedback.

Essentially, all information collected via the review process is zero-party data. The customer is sharing their own personal opinions, thoughts, and experiences of your product or service. They’ve made a conscious choice to provide this additional insight. You’ll use the data to learn more about them and to improve your offering.

By applying the right structure to review requests, brands can go above and beyond when it comes to collecting post-purchase zero-party data. Okendo’s review platform offers the unique Attributes feature, which represents a very exciting opportunity to double down on the zero-party opportunity.

Attributes allow your customers to add specific, personal characteristics to the reviews that they submit. These might relate to their demographic (age, gender, hair color), lifestyle (goals, preferences, or values) or behaviors (routines or favored activities).

Additionally, Attributes allows you to build up a clearer understanding of exactly who your brand is serving. This leads to better-informed purchase decisions, a reduced returns rate, and an enhanced customer experience.

Zero-party data gathered from reviews in this manner also allows you to apply razor-sharp segmentation to your future messaging – delivering deeply personalized, relevant, and contextual information, discounts, offers, and recommendations to your customers.

Finally, remember that reviews offer a great opportunity to collect another form of zero-party data — UGC (user-generated content). Candid product images and video content give brands a rich source of additional media that can fuel social campaigns and add valuable social proof to their sales channels.

Optimizing the Collection of Zero-Party Data with Reviews

By this point, we hope we have you fully sold on the power of both zero-party data, and reviews as a means of collecting it. Before you scramble to start sending your requests, take a moment to read through the following tips for the smooth and effective capture of zero-party data during the review process.

Firstly, make things mobile-friendly. SMS marketing is a proven route to high engagement — nothing gets you closer to a customer than a message delivered directly to their mobile device. An SMS request is also easy to act upon spontaneously. A surefire way to encourage rapid responses is by having a clear call to action and a well-designed collection flow that doesn’t ask too much of the customer. With more purchases being made on our mobile devices in the first instance, extending your post-purchase data requests in the same way is a natural progression. Okendo’s integration with Attentive makes the process of requesting and collecting zero-party data easy.

You’ll also want to ensure that the process is seamless, for retailers and customers alike. Automation is the answer here, by creating flows that make progression intuitive and effortless. By using a tool such as Okendo’s Sequences feature, you can create dynamic request flows that personalize messaging, conversion goals and even review incentives. Clear reporting helps to keep your process optimized.

Timing is also important. Be sure to factor in realistic timeframes for optimal effectiveness — you’ll want to be certain that your customer has not only received the item you’re asking them to review – they should have had an opportunity to fully experience the product too.

Finally, consider incentivizing engagement, with rewards linked to just how detailed the reviews they submit are. A sliding scale of discounts or loyalty points might be enough to nudge your customers towards providing that all-important additional context.

The Benefits of Adopting a Long-Term Strategy for the Collection of Zero-Party Data & Reviews

With customers wanting personalized retail experiences and more control of how brands are using their information, zero-party data stands to become an important component of future marketing strategies.

As a general rule, any event or occasion that sees a predictable uptick in sales represents a good opportunity to collect more zero-party data, since brands can send more review requests.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a great example of this. While most brands see this holiday sale as a chance to boost conversion and shift stock, it’s also a golden opportunity for increased zero-party data collection. Not only are customers making a higher number of purchases, they’re also likely to engage with brands, and on the lookout for additional discounts. Encouraging customers to submit reviews should be a standard, conscious component of all big sales events, and wider marketing strategies.

Ready to Join the Zero-Party?

The importance of zero-party data is significant. Capturing it through reviews can help many businesses to access a great source of this important information in the future.

If you’re looking to improve your personalization, customer experience and conversion rates through enhanced segmentation, now is the time to get ahead of the curve. Optimize your review collection process now, so that as data privacy regulations increase, you’ll have a system in place that enables you to provide the highly relevant shopping experiences that the consumers expect.

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